maybe it's because i was a kindergarten teacher. for five years of my life i was the one responsible for 20+ little lives 180 days out of the year. that's more than 100 children. i remember every first and last name. every face. every personality. and i remember how they came into school each day with wide-eyed wonder and absolute faith that they were in a safe place. we didn't just teach academics - letters, sounds, numbers, shapes -but also character traits and how to behave appropriately in different social settings. we taught the importance of kindness and generosity. of standing up for what you believe in and standing up for others. and daily we discussed the different ways to prevent bullying and how to react if you or one of your friends was the victim of a "bully." in kindergarten a bully is the one who calls you names, who won't let you play in "free centers" with them. the one who pushes you on the playground or scribbles on your paper. never did we have to discuss the possibility of evil entering into our presence. maybe it's because i remember how sad we all felt when one of our "friends" would move away without a moments notice. one day they were there, the next they were not. we were sad we didn't get to say goodbye, hug their neck, or have any sense of closure. but the sadness would pass, because we knew they had simply moved to another school/home/area and we would hope that they would soon meet other friends and start anew. maybe it's because i honestly can't fathom having to tell such innocent, young children that their friend has not just "moved away" or that there is evil in this world far greater than the "bullies" that they've encountered.
maybe it's because i have a sister who suffers from mental illness. i've been on the receiving end of violent and aggressive outbursts. i've also been on the receiving end of emotional "i'm so sorry's" and "i didn't mean to's." and i know that she is. and she didn't. maybe it's because i know what it's like to live with someone that could be sent over the edge at any given moment for any given reason. someone who can be violent but who can also be loving. someone who wants to do what's right, but honest to goodness just cannot control herself at times. maybe it's because i've seen my parents advocate for her every day of her life. and love her unconditionally through it all. i've seen their hearts break for what was, and for what will never be. but i've also seen them rejoice for all that she is and how far she's come. maybe it's because i know that mental illness is real. it's hard for everyone involved. and it must be addressed.
maybe it's because i'm a mother. i know what it's like to love someone with every ounce of my being. i know what it feels like to want to protect them from harm and to shelter them from hurt. even in my wildest nightmares i could never imagine danger entering into a place that i thought was secure. maybe it's because something happening to one of my children is one of my greatest fears in life. i would rather suffer 1000 times over than have them feel any ounce of hurt. maybe it's because i send my child off to school three times a week and never once thought that something could happen to her there. maybe it's because i know the feeling in the pit of my stomach when i see the school's number on my caller ID. my heart hurts just a little to hear her teacher tell me, "she's sick." and then she asks, "can you come get her?" and yet. i'm reminded that there are parents that did not hear "can you come get her?" when they heard the news.
and maybe it's just because i'm human. when things like this happen we can't help but feel changed. and to want to make a change. maybe it's because our sense of security is shaken and our vulnerability feels a little too raw. this just hits too close to home. and it's hard. it's hard because i believe we serve a good and loving God, but i know that we live in an evil world. and sometimes it's hard to reconcile the two. but my God is the same God yesterday, today, and tomorrow. i believe with my whole heart that He doesn't want us to live in fear. He wants us to live with heaven in mind. knowing that this world is not our home. that one day we will meet Him-just as those precious children have-and when that day comes there will be no sadness, no tears, no death, and no sickness. there will simply be the everlasting glory of God. He promises that every wrong will be made right....there's no "maybe" about it.
"They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them."
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children."